So what did Jesus mean when he said, "Do not judge"?

Each one of us or almost all of us has/have ever used the above words from Matthew Chapter 7:1 in defense of his sins, wrongs, and imperfections or those of his neighbors. Actually, I bet this is one of the most misquoted and misused verse in the Bible. Almost all Christians and non Christians have ever used the words or read that one verse, but few have ever taken time to even completely read that one chapter of Matthew.

So here we go; "Yes, I saw him steal the money, but who am I to judge him? After all, I am a sinner too. Maybe that is why Jesus commanded us, 'don't judge others", we always excuse ourselves yet even in not deciding to oppose the action, we have already judged to let it be. Anyway, today we wanna look into what Jesus exactly meant when he commanded us not to judge, follow the lead.

First, what would the words 'to judge' mean? In Greek, this word, judge, means krino or akrino, which can also be understood as to form an opinion of good or bad, discern, condemn, identify the good from bad, think, and tell or define. In other words, the word Judge can carry two meanings in general; to condemn the heart (despising someone making him inferior) or condemn the person and his actions (making moral judgments). 

People just dodge the truth and yet it it always right in front of us (Romans Chapter 1). Everything to do with what Jesus meant is right there in the same chapter. Let us read the next sentence; "or you too will be judged". Explanation? Yes, look at verse 3: "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay not attention to the plank of your own eye?" In other words, God is not asking to stop judging others or make opinions of what they are and what they do, He is simply telling us what it requires to do it well: First, clean your eyes and then help your brother with his. 

Christians should judge everything and everyone

According to that same book of Matthew 7:15-23, Jesus is now openly commissioning us to judge our shepherds (call them pastors and priests), judge our fellow Christians, and make no mistake of not identifying goof fruits from bad ones. Oh no, now let us go back to verse 6; "Do not give dogs what is sacred". There is no way we shall tell a dog, a false prophet, a sour fruit, a good and evil person if we cannot judge them or make opinions of their actions and words and lives. Is this all? Let us explore the Bible more. 

In the book of 1 Corinthians 2:15, Paul says, "the person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments". Did you just read that? When you read the whole book of 1 Corinthians especially chapters 2, 5, and 6, Paul is seriously calling upon the church or Christians to judge their fellows and keep discerning between fruits of spirit and of evil one. The Bible has the book of Judges and it was established and effected by God himself (Judges 2:18). The book of Philippians Chapter 1 has great words that show us well that it is the duty of Christians to always pass judgments and discernment between what is wrong and right (Philippians 1:1-10).

When we excuse ourselves in the name of the above words, we are being hypocrites. We are simply denying to show that we actually have the plank in our eyes or simply showing that we are so obedient to God's word that we cannot pass judgment or discernment yet even that choosing not to oppose such evil actions is also a discernment. Let me be plain: When we say, who am I to judge Him?, We are actually judging; the bad judgment and the one for hypocrites.

So what should we avoid when judging? 

According to what we have so far shared, it is our duty and work to judge everything and make discernment that allows us choose good things or people from bad things or people. And God is clear on another tip; this discernment (telling wrong from bad) is easy and rewarding if we ourselves are clean (not clean in the perfect sense as hypocrites like to think of it, but just clean in relation to that particular evil or even time or moment).

Let me explain this; even though it is possible I could be the next thief tomorrow, it does not mean I should not point my fingers at stealing today. Even though I may be a drunkard now, it does not mean I cannot point fingers at a man cheating on His wife in the bar I am actually drinking in. Of course, this my discernment of the other evil does not automatically delete my own sins, we are both headed for the same ending.

Also, the Bible asks us not to condemn other people's hearts for it is only God who sees the heart (But who did not know this? Why would we be pointing fingers at what we even did not see, but just imagined) (Romans 2:1; 14:10). According to 7:24, we should "stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” In other words, Christians should not just point fingers without patiently waiting and having evidence of such accusations. Also our judgment should not be hypocritical (Romans 2:1), harsh and unforgiving (Titus 3:2), self righteous kind (I am not a sinner like him) (James 4:6), false and untrue (Proverbs 19:5), and unhelpful kind of accusations. 


God is nowhere asking us not judge or make an opinion of good and bad, but he is asking us to do it well and gently and with a spirit of improving each other. God is asking us to first clean ourselves of such evil through repentance and trust in his saving grace and then we can effectively help others, but he is not saying that we keep quiet when we see evil being done in our corridors waiting to be perfect enough to be able to talk about it. 

When we see homosexuality and prostitution on the street and keep quiet saying, who am I to judge, we are the real hypocrites Jesus is talking of. We are pretending that we are doing it in obedience to his word, but deep inside our hearts we know we are serving ourselves. 

God is asking us to make opinions of people and their actions, tell false prophets from true ones, bad fruits from good ones, but we should not condemn their hearts for only God knows their hearts. That is the truth about the verse you and I have been hiding behind and instead judging others the horrible way available. 

God bless you. 


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Born from Uganda, Nemeyimana Vicent (Nemvicx) has become what people call, "coming from nothing to something". Professionally, he is both a nurse and public health officer and currently works with Mulago National Referral Hospital. In 2016, he wedded his wife and great sweetheart, Amulen Winfred (also a professional Midwife and counsellor). Besides their professions, Nemvicx is an inspirational writer, singer, motivational speaker, author of several digital books. He a theologian and blogger at (The Complete You Ministry).

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